I’ve told all the big stories
that comprise my life.
Some truths I’ve diluted
for the comfort of strangers

sometimes I have
spat battery acid
but there has never been
a disingenuous line

in my entire opus.
The bellyaching
has all been of my
own provenance

the charmed epiphanies
I’ve dissected and nurtured
derive from real experiences.
A dishonest word

would simply distort
my sometimes maudlin
insufferably sentimental


Did you ever dwell
on the craft

involved in a child’s

or the incredible lustre
of teenage skin.

To think
this is some random

evolutionary outcome
seems preposterous

that the sixty million years
it took to create

the ravishing swirl
of a trilobite

is assuredly the signature
of a master poet.


It was one of the
most brave

radical protests
I ever made.

Mother had been
bullying me since

before breakfast
I couldn’t keep it in

there was a plastic phial
of her sleeping tablets

on the marble counter.
Raging, I leant over

clenched a fist
and hammered.

The pink capsules
skittered all across

the outraged kitchen
my cat scarpered

Mother was about
to explode

only she articulated
very quietly

very rigidly
that I should leave

and never
ever return.


When Father
had a cancer scare

was admitted
to intensive care

I didn’t bat
a proverbial eyelid.

Mother called me
a callous man

I shopped for books
went about my

insulated ways
not considering

as I thumbed through
gorgeous softback classics

whether the tumour
was aggressive

likely to fell
my old man.


Sometimes it’s a single
word that charms me.

It might burgeon into lines
big enough to bewitch

my readership.
I’ve been assured

I can magic
a scintillating image

make a scene that sobs
with melancholy.

It is a minor talent
I have, to sweep

you away
with the glamour of words

satisfy your senses
until I enjamb

a last big resonant symbol.
Place the final period.


Squat on the cold tiles
of a disused shop-front

legs crossed over
like a little rotund Buddha

I notice your cardboard
request for alms

composed in the language
of the illiterate

and the yellowing plastic cup
brimming with cigarette stubs.

In a mothy winter mitten
are some sparkly pennies

I toss you a dollar
at which you look up

assess my comfortable situation
with your rheumy eyes

spit vulgarly
and rumble something indefinable.


Barking dogs
faze me
I stomp my foot

for absolute silence.
Like everyone else
the beasts ignore me

so I howl back
until I’m hoarse.
Humans keep a distance

I’m the butt of their cruel jokes
the scruffy loony
with plastic shopping-bags

whose occasional
bizarre appearances
provoke mirth.

I forgot my medicines
I smell
I don’t know how

I got here
I shall scamper
until the sniggering dies.


The men with mental
health issues
loaf outside
and smoke.

Their women
have long absconded
so they can sport
shaggy beards

and forego
personal hygiene.
They smell like
open ashcans

their minds are sedated
with repressive medicines
to extinguish any
acts of lunacy.

As I stroll by
breezily sane
a ragged prophet guy
gobs at his swollen feet

pulling his grubby beanie
over his dead-fish eyes
the horrible world is illusion.


When we drove by
the place where
Grandmother died

there was always
a difficult silence.
I could hear Mother

sniffle into her handkerchief
and Father sigh heavily
frightened at the theatrical

sorrow of his fickle wife.
Father tried some fatuous
up-beat words

which sank like leaden weights
my little sister began
to cry.


We all wish
for a bugle call

a twenty-one gun salute
to acknowledge

our passing.
As I am lowered

into the wormy ground
there should be a single-

stemmed crimson rose
then fine dust sprinkled

across my mahogany casket.
Wreaths heaped high

weeping adolescent women
daubing their hazel eyes

the funeral oration
grave but noble

indicating the world’s loss
the majesty of my verses.